radio / Encounter

Join host Carol Castiel each week as she and two advocates from the world of politics, public policy, or academia discuss and debate a critical issue in the news, bringing depth, perspective, and insight to the world around us. Issues that affect our lives and global stability are debated in a free-wheeling, unscripted discussion of fact and opinion.

July 11, 2014


THE USES AND ABUSES OF SOCIAL MEDIA   On this edition of the program host Doug Bernard talks with Andrew Borene, Attorney at Steptoe & Johnson and an adviser for the Truman National Security Project Defense Council, and Cori Dauber, Professor of Communication Studies at the University of North Carolina and author of YouTube Wars, about the various uses of social media in conflict situations and how these tools might be changing the balance of power between governments and insurgencies. 

July 04, 2014


IRAQ AND SYRIA - ISLAMIC STATE   Jessica Lewis, research director at the Institute for the Study of War and Faysal Itani, resident fellow at the Atlantic Council’s Rafik Hariri Center for the Middle East, discuss the inextricable links between the conflicts in Iraq and Syria with host Carol Castiel. They suggest that in addition to pressing for greater power sharing among Sunnis, Kurds and Shiites in Bagdad, the only way to defeat the terror group ISIS also known as the Islamic State, which has terrorized Iraqis and seized territory in the north and west of Iraq, is to help the moderate opposition in Syria defeat both the Assad regime and ISIS in Syria.

June 27, 2014


BRAZIL - WORLD CUP   Paulo Sotero, director of the Brazil Institute at the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars and Sonny Young, host of VOA’s Sonny Side of Sports Show, assess the performances and politics of the 2014 World Cup with host Carol Castiel. They assess victories and losses, preview “the round of 16” and discuss the potential political fallout for Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff over alleged excessive spending on the World Cup to the detriment of social services and education, in the run-up to national elections in 2014.

June 20, 2014


POLITICS OF CANTOR DEFEAT John Fortier, director of the Democracy Project at the Bi-Partisan Policy Center and Igor Volsky, Managing Editor of, a progressive political blog affiliated with the Center for American Progress, talk with host Carol Castiel about the implications of the stunning defeat of House Majority Leader Eric Cantor in a primary election - what it means for the upcoming mid-term elections and the future of the GOP. They also discuss President Barack Obama’s lackluster approval ratings and to what extent they will hurt Democrats in the mid-term elections.

June 13, 2014


OBAMA - FOREIGN POLICY Republicans and Democrats alike have expressed reservations about President Barack Obama’s handling of foreign policy, especially toward Syria. Brian Katulis, senior fellow at the progressive Center for American Progress and Kim Holmes, distinguished fellow at the Heritage Foundation, discuss with host Carol Castiel President Obama’s view of the world and the US role in it as the United States attempts to project a lighter footprint and work with allies to achieve its foreign policy objectives.  

June 06, 2014


U.S. INITIATIVE ON CLIMATE CHANGE In a bid to curb global warming and improve the health of Americans, President Barack Obama announced a controversial plan to cut carbon emissions from US power plants by nearly one-third in the next 15 years.  On this edition of the program an advocate, Kevin Kennedy, director of the US Climate Initiative and Energy Program at the World Resources Institute, and an opponent, Nicolas Loris, Senior Policy Analyst at the Institute for Economic Policy Studies at the Heritage Foundation, spar over the political, health, climate and economic implications of the plan with host Carol Castiel.

May 30, 2014


NIGERIA  - BOKO HARAM J. Peter Pham, director of the Atlantic Council’s Africa Center and Lauren Ploch Blanchard, Africa analyst at the Congressional Research Service, an arm of the Library of Congress, talk with host Carol Castiel about Nigeria’s struggle to combat the homegrown terrorist group Boko Haram in the wake of the spectacular abduction in April of more than 250 schoolgirls, which shocked the world and prompted countries from the United States to China to offer military and technical support to the Nigerian government.

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Carol Castiel is also the host of  Press Conference USA and co-produces Issues in the News with Ania Zalewski at the Voice of America.
Broadcast Schedule
Encounter is broadcast on Saturdays and Sundays. You can also listen to us via affiliate stations in your area. Check your local radio station guide for more information.
  • Saturdays: 0330 0930 1430 1800 and 2330 UTC
  • Sundays:   0530  1230 1730 1930 UTC
This Week's Featured Video: Host Carol Castiel talks to Georgetown University Professors Ambassador Mark Lagon and  Professor Tony Arend about the US foreign policy priorities for 2014.    (January 5, 2014)

Carol Castiel

Meet Our Host
As Director of Current Affairs Programming in VOA's English Division, Carol Castiel is responsible for producing Press Conference USA, Encounter, and Issues in the News.  Carol moderates and produces Press Conference USA and Encounter. She also oversees the production of Issues in the News, VOA’s roundup of the week’s top stories by distinguished Washington journalists.

Before joining the Voice of America, Carol was a consultant/freelance journalist specializing in the promotion of trade and investment between the United States and Africa. She was also a contributing editor to the London-based West Africa Magazine. Carol is fluent in Portuguese, French, and Spanish. She holds an M.A. degree in International Affairs from the University of Pittsburgh.

Other Current Affairs Programs:

Issues in the news -Prominent Washington correspondents discuss topics making headlines around the world.
Press conference Host Carol Castiel and other panelists interview best-selling authors, analysts, politicians, US government officials, ambassadors and foreign heads of state about critical issues facing the US and the world.

Watch Our Video

Host Carol Castiel talks to Georgetown University Professors Ambassador Mark Lagon and  Professor Tony Arend about the US foreign policy priorities for 2014.    (January 5, 2014)
Middle East Voices Middle East Voices– a VOA-powered social journalism platform seeking to combine investigative journalism, crowdsourcing, participatory writing and social media technology to redefine how stories in and about the Middle East are told.